6 years ago I was a brave mom. I took my son to his first day of Kindergarten, snapped the obligatory picture, helped hang his back pack and find his desk where his name was written in bright magic marker. I packed his favorite sandwich and juice box and bid farewell. After that I jumped in the car with nary a backward glance and met some fellow moms for coffee.
We rejoiced. We were free.
I'm not brave anymore.
In fact, I must have been saving all those back to school tears for last night. Today my son is starting 6th grade and I have all the feels on this one. It was bad enough to have a nervous stomach all night but when the tears started in, I knew I was sunk.
My kids are growing up.
Don't get me wrong, I love, love having tweens/early teens. They outsleep me, make their own snacks and can dress themselves. It's a beautiful thing, for now anyway. We had an incredible summer and it was incredible because there was no schedule. We experienced 3 months of freedom and release from the tyranny of routine. My kids were my comrades, we had fun doing stupid stuff and just hanging out together. I was a mom that actually loved the fact they were off school.
Now they're gone and I'm feeling sadness. Parents of college bound kids? I can't even.
Today my son entered a new world. Without me. A world where cliques, bullies, locker combos and PE dress down reside. A world of beginning band and crowded hallways. A world of advisors and homeroom. A world of new, fledging friendships and awareness of girls. A world that is moving so fast, I can't seem to keep up.
All night my worrisome thoughts plagued me. Will he be able to find his locker again? Will he remember to drop off his homeroom supplies? Will he remember where room 35 is located? What about his locker combo? How is he going to stay organized in all the chaos? Will he find friends to eat lunch with?
On and on it went while my son peacefully slept.
This morning his first words were, "What if I can't do this?"
My heart was about to break because inwardly I wondered the same thing. It's a big new world for him.
But, deep down I know he can and I told him so.
He sighed, got out of bed and said, "OK, let's do this, I'm ready."
I'm proud of my son and I'm keeping my tears to myself. I know it's part of letting go. This is part of the gig known as parenting. It's the most emotional journey I've ever encountered and this just the beginning as my children continue to mature and grow.
Even so, I packed him his favorite sandwich and juice box. Some things haven't changed.